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Great Britain second highest rated in the world for water and sewerage services

  • New global survey shows very high satisfaction with British water and sewerage services compared to other countries
  • Second top infrastructure sector in Britain after an 8% improvement
  • Strong support for private investment in infrastructure

A major new international survey has revealed that the satisfaction rating for Great Britain’s water supply and sewerage services is the second highest in the world. GB comes second only to Germany across 28 countries surveyed, with results 18 points higher than the global average.

The Ipsos poll for the Global Infrastructure Investor Association revealed that 73% of respondents thought GB’s water and sewerage services were good, compared to 55% globally and a 60% rating for the same services in the G8. Britain’s satisfaction rating is well ahead of individual countries such as France, Poland, Sweden and Spain.

Within Britain, water and sewerage is the second highest rated infrastructure sector, just behind airports, with an improvement of 8% on last year’s results. The 73% finding is significantly above major roads and motorways (60%), wind energy (49%), rail infrastructure (38%), and flood defences (32%).

Only around a fifth (22%) agree increased spending on infrastructure should be funded by higher taxes or government borrowing. This compares to 53% who think public spending is already high, and that taxes and government borrowing should not be increased to improve infrastructure. Those in favour of private investment in infrastructure outnumber those against by 4 to 1 (58% to 13%), and 62% would prefer technical experts rather than elected politicians (13%) to mostly make decisions about new infrastructure. Only 8% of respondents thought ownership – whether infrastructure was privately or publicly owned - should be an important factor in future infrastructure plans.

Commenting on the new figures, Water UK Chief Executive Michael Roberts said:

“The water industry in this country has invested billions of pounds in making our water and sewerage services some of the best in the world, and it is good to see the recognition for the many advances and improvements made over the years. We are a long way from where we were 30 years ago, when chronic underfunding made us the Dirty Man of Europe. Now our cleaner beaches, healthier waterways, and ambitious plans for the future make us the envy of the world.”

The breakdown of people saying that water and sewerage services were very or fairly good in Britain compared to other countries is as follows:

Global – 55%

G8 – 60%

Germany – 76%

Great Britain – 73%

France – 68%

Belgium – 64%

Poland – 60%

Sweden – 60%

Hungary – 59%

Spain – 55%

Italy – 36%

Only 22% thought water and sewerage infrastructure in Britain should be a priority for investment (compared to 28% in the G8). Local roads, flood defences, rail infrastructure, new housing, major roads and motorways, and digital/broadband infrastructure were given higher priority.

The full results are available from

The GIIA/Ipsos Infrastructure Index involved 19,516 people sampled via Ipsos’ Global Advisor in 28 countries (samples sizes were either 500 or 1,000 in each country): Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain (1,002), Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America

For more information please contact Water UK Corporate Affairs on 020 7344 1805 or